On Wednesday June 15, Thailand took a step toward marriage equality as lawmakers passed a first reading of four different bills on same-sex unions, including two bills that would allow same-sex marriages and two others that would permit civil partnerships.
A committee will now examine the bills in detail and consolidate them into two proposals, with MPs choosing between civil partnerships or same-sex marriage.
If legalized, Thailand would become the second country in Asia to allow same-sex marriage after Taiwan.
Thailand has one of the most open and visible LGBTQ cultures and communities in Asia, but activists say LGBT people still face discrimination through outdated laws and institutions.
The bill passed a week after people in Thailand held the country’s first pride parade in almost 15 years.
A small group of activists celebrated outside the parliament building after the vote, France 24 reported.
“I am very happy and glad, it is a good sign in Pride month that there are MPs who want equality and vote for the bills,” LGBT activist Nada Chaiyajit told AFP.
Last year, Thailand’s top court ruled that the country’s current marriage law, which only recognizes heterosexual couples, was constitutional. However, it recommended expanding legislation to ensure the rights of other genders, according to Reuters.